Shanghai Argo Partners with Novartis in Multi-Program RNAi Licensing and Collaboration

08 January 2024 | Monday | News

Shanghai Argo Biopharmaceutical Co., Ltd. ("Argo"), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of next-generation RNAi therapeutics, today announced that it has entered into two exclusive license and collaboration agreements with Novartis PHARMA AG ("Novartis").
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

- Argo will receive upfront payments of $185 million from Novartis and is eligible to receive potential option and milestone payments as well as tiered royalties on commercial sales.

- Novartis will receive an ex-Greater China exclusive license for a Phase 1/2a stage cardiovascular asset, a worldwide exclusive license for a Phase 1 stage cardiovascular asset as well as an option to license compounds directed against up to two cardiovascular targets.

  • Discovered and developed with Argo's advanced RNA interference (RNAi) technology, these programs will reinforce and expand the Novartis RNAi portfolio on Cardiovascular and Metabolic diseases (CVM)


Under the first agreement, Argo has granted Novartis exclusive global licenses to develop and commercialize a Phase 1 stage program. The first agreement also includes a research collaboration and Novartis also receives an option to potentially license compounds directed against up to two additional targets for cardiovascular disease treatment. Under the second agreement, Argo granted Novartis an exclusive ex-Greater China license to develop and commercialize a Phase 1/2a clinical-stage program for cardiovascular disease treatment. 

Discovered and developed with Argo's cutting-edge RNAi platform technology, these clinical-stage assets offer industry-leading efficacy and durability therapies. The transactions have a combined potential value of up to $4.165 billion for Argo and tiered royalties.

"This is the first significant overseas out-licensing transaction in the RNAi field from a Chinese biotech company. We are pleased that Novartis, a global leader in cardiovascular disease and RNAi therapeutics, recognizes the significant value that the Argo team has created with advanced RNAi platform technology and new generation CVM pipeline over the past two years." said Dongxu Shu, president and chief executive officer of Argo Biopharma. "The proven development capabilities, global commercial reach, and breadth of experience Novartis has in CVM make it the ideal partner to accelerate the development of our drug candidates and bring these medicines to patients".

"We believe the cardiovascular programs that Argo has developed using its state-of-the-art RNAi platform complement the Novartis pipeline of RNA-based therapeutics," said Shaun Coughlin, Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Area research at Novartis. "We look forward to working with Argo to bring these investigational therapies forward to help address unmet patient needs in cardiovascular medicine."

Also under the first agreement, Novartis can select up to two targets against which Argo will perform discovery and optimization, to deliver PCCs, at which time Novartis will have the option to take a worldwide exclusive license.

The second transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Stay Connected

Sign up to our free newsletter and get the latest news sent direct to your inbox


Forgot your password?



Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Back to log-in